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Old 24-10-2009, 09:34   #1
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J-School for Racing - Worth it or Waste of Money?

Greetings all, I am currently getting back into sailing and have raced in block island this year, as well as local wednessday night races with the local yacht club.
I am going to Key West for race week this January and found out about "J School" which happens to run the week before. Its $995.00 for a 5 day racing school. Apparently its a soup to nuts course for everything racing including emergency situations.
IS IT WORTH THE COST TO TAKE THIS COURSE FOR EXPERIENCE AND TO BUILD A RESUME, AND MORE IMPORTANTLY WILL SKIPPERS LOOK AT THIS COURSE AS AND WANT ME ON THEIR BOAT BECAUSE OF IT????

P.S. How can I contact the crew I raced with on Block Island they will definitely be in Key West and I would like to try and get a ride with them again.
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Old 24-10-2009, 09:47   #2
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If you have never had formal eduction but have some experience it can be a way to get up to the next level. It also means you come away talking and thinking the way that is understood by racers. You'll have a bit more knowledge to help your experience. You'll also get a lot of time to do things your way and not just what a skipper asks of you.

References do matter and so does skill. If you come out of the course a little more confident and you pick up some cool tricks you'll have had a fun time and learned a lot. You meet more people too. If you can talk to the instructor first you may feel better or worse about the course. It's nice to meet the instructor before you sign up. The school is just the bricks and infrastructure so mostly it's the instructor.
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Old 24-10-2009, 10:00   #3
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Hey Pblais, race week is from jan 18-22 and the J school down there is having an introduction to racing (5 day course) the week before unfortunately I'll be tight because staying in Key West ain't cheap. Would a skipper give me a shot because of this course? You know these guys spend a lot of money to race and its hard to ask them to give a nobody a shot so I figure it can't hurt. Plus I play the bagpipes so thats an added bonus.
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Old 24-10-2009, 10:22   #4
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Quote:
Would a skipper give me a shot because of this course? You know these guys spend a lot of money to race and its hard to ask them to give a nobody a shot so I figure it can't hurt. Plus I play the bagpipes so thats an added bonus.
I think when picking up crew you look partly at personality and the ability to add some dimension you might want to have but don't have yet. It also is a process of avoiding the qualities you don't want either.

Having extra skills is always good. Mechanical, cooking, navigation, and associated boating skills beyond the race course might be just the ticket too.

The ability to perform on deck usually shows what you really can do. The best way to get more rides is to ride more and show that you really are good at it. The word does get around when you get that good. School often helps you focus on mistakes you make and lets you see things in a light you might not get just showing up race after race. Someone watches what you do and tries to help you get better. Race time isn't really the place to get instruction about racing.

For Wednesday night races the qualifications drop pretty low as it mostly is about fun. At that level no one wants a downer or a problem sailor but with a decent attitude you can always get a ride. It's not that simple at the higher levels.

As you move up in levels of competition some skippers are really out there to win. The course would at least fill out where you lack skills. You might learn more and just have a way to get better. Just showing up and going out on boats lets you learn some things but if you want to get better you need more than just following along.

You still need to make your money last. That part matters as much as anything else. How you approach learning more is left to your means and desires.
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Old 24-10-2009, 11:06   #5
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J world is one of better racing courses around. I have done two of them now. One was just a weekend course the other was the week long course. You spend a lot of time on the water so you get lots of practical knoweldge. I think it improved my boat handling very much. My wife also liked the course, it built her self confidence. They did keep us on seperate boats for most of the week. When we did it the were using J 80's. I would reccomend. The instructors are racers who race at the top of their class be it J 105's J-80's Santanas ect.
Key West is a big event and most skippers will have their crew worked out in davance. You may try looking at the class web sites Sailing Anarchy crew list) and maybe even the Key West site for a crew lists.
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Old 24-10-2009, 11:14   #6
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I am curious about the racing courses too. My Mom took a basic course at JWorld up in RI many years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it and learned a lot.

Gudgeon, how much did they teach you in regards to skippering in a race?, the starts, and actual tactics of racing? I really want to find a course where I could feel confident on a course skippering the boat...

Thanks!
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Old 24-10-2009, 11:14   #7
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Pblais always elequently put. Gudgeon thankyou you are what I was looking for, so the course I want to take is a 5 day beginning racing course. Its around a thousand bucks but I agree with both of you its worth it for my future knowledge. I'm one of those guys that gets the OCD thing going when I want to learn something I put everything I have into it until I get it perfect.
I know that most crews are set already but I have to give it a shot. Its a big gamble with alot of dough but I have no choice until people start noticing me, or hear about me all I can do is show up and ask.
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Old 24-10-2009, 11:16   #8
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High heels you can find the web site its Jworld.com they have schools all over the east coast. Come to key west and take the course with me LOL.
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Old 24-10-2009, 11:22   #9
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I was going to take the course in Annapolis, my hometown, because I could stay with my parents but Key West sounds much more fun!

I have never participated in Key West raceweek but helped photograph it once with my husband.

I actually entered an essay contest many years ago that JWorld ran, and I won second place but never cashed in the half scholorship I won, hoping they will honor it. Talked to a rep at the boatshow last year and he said to contact him...

I wanted to go out to San Diego...but Key West sounds like fun!!!
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Old 26-10-2009, 21:45   #10
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Try to contact your skipper see if e needs crew. Put a notice up at your local clubs and finaly check the class web sites.
On to the course yes the 5 day gourse is worth it When we took the class in San diego, Spent around an hour in the class room in the am. Went out on the boats till lunch time had a short lunch break and back on the water till 4 or a little later. You rotatate positions on the boat. The instructor will work with everyone constrating on the given task for the day. At the end of the week we had a mini regatta with the other boat. They did move people around so that the skills levels were better match. Like I said I did not want to be on the same boat as my wife but I did manage to keep my muth shut. She did get stuck starting against me when she was on the other boat. Not a good thing as she knew me well enough and what I would do during the starts but the instructor did not listen. I can be very agress in some one eles boat.
Some of the class will depend on the other people in it. We would bot do it again. We owned a J-80 when we took it and it gave the wife enough confidence to drive down wind sfter the course prior to it she would not drive down wind only up wind.
PM me with more questions if you want.
I you do it n Key West walk the docks and see if anone is short crew do it each day some days they may want an extra hand.
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Old 27-10-2009, 01:28   #11
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We were going to take our entire J-24 crew to the J-school but it fell apart. We have the course videos. They are awesome. I still may do it.

Check the regatta website. They usually have a crew wanted/available blog going and don't give up. People fall out at the last minute.

After paying $3600 to go to Hamilton Island this year, I had to crap out. I searched all over the local scene for someone to buy me out. I pinged 3 people on the crew seeking board and was able to find someone compatible with our team who was willing to give me $1800.

The key to getting boat positions is to be 100% available and willing to do any crap job needed - pack spinnakers, do the ice run, unload the anchor, chain and all the other crap off the boat, fold sails - all with a smile. Skippers hate people who bomb out and they hate pikers. Get a reputation as a stand up guy and then you will go racing. The J-school is a nice label but in my opinion not a requirement.

You should also study your ass off. Read as many racing books as you can. You won't be making any decisions in the beginning but you should have a clue what is going on. You should be able to tell all the controls on the boat recognizing many have multiple names - vang, kicker, barberhauler, topping lift/spinnaker pole lift, downhaul, outhaul, cunningham, backstay, running backstays, main/genny/spinnaker halyards, genny cars, traveller.

Read up on sail trim - North Sails, Quantum and all the sailmakers have trimming guides on the internet. Don't offer your skipper or crew any advice but watch carefully what they are doing. Learn to watch for gusts and puffs but don't offer information about where other boats are - most skippers don't want that information. However if they ask you should have a clue.

This means understanding your class. Arrive 2 hours early. Find out what class your boat is in. Find out what other boats are in your class - go down and see the boats. There may be 45 boats on the water but you might be only competing with 10 of them.

And for God's sake don't be late. I have seen 5 guys flicked (kicked off) in the last year for showing up 10 minutes before departure, not having helped prepare the boat at all and wondering what's for lunch. One guy didn't show at all. When he was called he said, "Seeing as how it's raining, I thought we weren't sailing" - flush...

If the skipper gives a 10AM pitch up time be there at 9AM and walk the docks. See what's going on.

Bring your gear but this isn't a cruise. Gloves, hat, jacket and sunblock. Bring a liter bottle of water with your name on it. The skipper is supposed to provision the boat (unless he says different) but bringing your own water is always a good idea. If you bring a backpack for the after party or whatever, be prepared to have it left on the dock in the sail locker - maybe unlocked.

And the last advice is don't bail right after the last race of the regatta. There is lot's of work to do putting the boat together.

Imagine this is your "craft." Be as good a craftsman as you can be and you will be appreciated by all.
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Old 27-10-2009, 04:13   #12
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Thanks GUDGEON nice to know someone else has done the course.
EX-CALIF wow spot on bro I did my first race at Block Island this year and thats exactly how I acted. I can't understand why people don't think the same way, this guy spends alot of money to get his boat and crew there and you ask him for a ride but don't perform to the best of your ability is crazy. Why go in the first place. I am so hooked on this racing thing it makes me feel like I'm in my squad in the Marine Corps again except this is like slow motion combat tactics. I am learning all the time.
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Old 27-10-2009, 04:16   #13
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At this point gentlemen does anyone have a line on a cheap place to stay near or in old town in key west? After I take this course ($2100.00) and the airfair ($400.00) and eat (6'7" 240 Lbs) I'm gonna be in the hole for like $3500.00 add the room which I can't seem to find anything cheaper than $180.00 a night I might have to come home and get another full time job LOL.
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Old 27-10-2009, 05:17   #14
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After having lived in K.W. for seven years the rates of the B&B's have only gone through the roof, The mentality was "The city lost so much Money" after Whilma that everyone has to pay, property Taxes went through the roof and that was enough for me, Moved back to Newport and worked with your soon to be lead instructor Matt, I would look into some of the hotels up the keys maybe around Big Pine or rent a camper in Miami for the week and stay at Boyd's Campground on Stock Island would be cheaper and if you can hook up with someone else taking the class you could split the cost.
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Old 27-10-2009, 06:36   #15
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I hear ya procrew but I'm flying down dont want to deal with parking and want to be in walking distance to the school and the regatta so I guess i have to bight the bullet.
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